Haayłingtso Marlo Wylie Brillon, 2021
Cedar, acrylic paint
I created this bentwood chest for my second year of a YVR emerging artist scholarship. My goal was to learn the process of making a bentwood box from scratch, enlisting the guidance of Kwakwaka’wakw master bentwood box-maker, Richard Sumner.
The box design is a replica of an ancestral Haida box that inspired me.
I want to acknowledge and honour the artists who came before me, who have created such incredible works that I continue learn from. This was a huge learning curve for me, understanding how this specialized art form is constructed and adorned.
Haawa to my mentors and to the YVR Scholarship Foundation for supporting my developing art practice!
Haayłingtso Marlo Wylie Brillon, 2022
Red cedar, paint, fabric
This is first mask I’ve ever carved. I had the privilege to dance it at our first clan feast in over 150 years. Carving this k’aaxada (dogfish shark) mask was an emotional one, reflecting on how much my Ancestors have endured, the knowledge that has been lost due to colonization, but also how in the creation of this mask is a start for our clan to show who we are. The dogfish is one of our clan’s main crests, it is also associated with the story of my Haida name I received at our feast, which is Haayłingtso, the translation being “bright sunshine breaking through the storm clouds”.
Kalga Jaad and Xuuya
Haayłingtso Marlo Wylie Brillon, 2020
The creation of my piece “Kalga Jaad and Xuuya” (Woman of the Ice and Raven) was inspired by my reading of Contributions to the Ethnology of the Haida (edited by John R. Swanton, 1905) and the story of Kalga Jaad soothing the fussy Raven by breastfeeding them to keep them quiet and calm.
The story resonated with me for two reasons, one is that my mother and great-grandmother’s name is Kalga Jaad. While this name has been passed down over generations through our matrilineal line, I also feel the story of Kalga Jaad conveys beautiful imagery and captures a moment that highlights the role of women in motherhood. The story also conjures imagery presenting nude female form, as was natural and without shame in Indigenous cultures.
I want to dedicate this piece to honour my mentors: my uncle Jesse Brillon, my step-dad Andy Everson, and my partner Karver Everson for always sharing their knowledge and supporting me in my art practice. I would also like to acknowledge my matrilineal line, the Laana Tsaadas clan, that has passed down to me the rich culture I am continually working to uphold.